The most common macrobotanical type recovered from archaeological sites in the southern Kimberley of northwestern Australia are remains of Vitex glabrata R. Br. (Lamiaceae). Vitex glabrata is a large woody fruiting tree endemic to Australia’s tropical north that produces sweet, fleshy drupaceous fruits. Fruit production of this species is restricted to wet season months (December–February) when fruits are produced in great abundance. Ethnobotanical records for the region document processing of surplus fruits by Aboriginal people but these records lack details of the steps involved in the postharvest processing sequence and its by-products. To gain a deeper understanding of the economic use of V. glabrata and to help interpret fruit processing in archaeobotanical archives, ethnobotanical survey and experimental studies were conducted with Gooniyandi traditional owners. Experimental materials were compared with archaeological specimens recovered from Riwi, an archaeological site located on Gooniyandi ancestral lands. We conclude that fruit processing using techniques similar to those used today is clearly discernible in Riwi’s Holocene record documenting a 7,000 year old tradition of fruit processing.
|Number of pages||13|
|Publication status||Published - 2019|